How To Protect Your Identity Going Forward
Now that you have made your initial report and have a new card on the way, what do you need to do to protect yourself going forward? First, you should consider signing up for a credit monitoring service so that you can keep a close eye on your credit. This type of service will alert you immediately if anyone attempts to use your Social Security number to obtain a new line of credit like a loan or credit card.
You might even consider contacting the major credit reporting agencies like Experian, Equifax, and Transunion to place a lock on your Social Security number. This would prevent anyone from using your SSN to obtain credit without going through rigorous identification verification. Finally, make sure to keep a constant watch on your credit file for any suspicious activity. You can obtain a free copy of your report at annualcreditreport.com, and staying vigilant will help protect you from ID theft going forward.
Finally, you should keep your Social Security card safe and secure. There is really no reason to carry your card with you all the time. It is best stored in a safe location and only pulled out when absolutely necessary. This can help prevent both theft and accidental loss of your card.
What To Do If Your Social Security Card Was Lost Or Stolen
If your card is lost or stolen, then you need to act immediately to help protect yourself. As soon as you recognize that your card was stolen, you should file a report with your local police department. Notify the authorities so that they can begin working on finding the culprit, and that police report also serves as proof that your card really was stolen in case you need to work on repairing your credit later. A stolen Social Security card is typically more likely to cause you problems down the road, but a lost card can cause issues too. If you simply lost or misplaced your card, then you can skip this step and move on to the next one.
In addition to the police, you will want to go ahead and notify the Social Security Administration that your card is lost or stolen. You should go ahead and register for your MySocialSecurity account at SSA.gov also. This online portal allows you to request a replacement card, view your earnings statements, estimate your future benefits, and many more things. Make sure that you claim your account so that whoever has your SS card cannot claim it fraudulently.
Tip : Consider An Identity Theft Protection Service
As identity thieves continue to evolve their methods for obtaining personal information, protecting your Social Security number is vital to protecting your identity.
Protecting your Social Security number doesnt have to be a do-it-yourself affair. An identity theft protection service can help. For instance, it may be able to alert you if your SSN has been found on the dark web. The cost of an identity theft protection service typically ranges from $10 to $35 per month.
Some identity theft protection services include features to monitor your credit reports, alert you when new accounts are opened in your name, or when banks, credit card companies or other financial services providers check your credit.
For example, if you recently bought a car, you might receive an alert for the new loan. However, if you receive an alert that a new credit card was opened in your name, and you didnt apply for one, that might be a sign of fraud. Some identity theft protection services allow you to respond to alerts via email, phone, and text messages.
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What Can Someone Do With Your Social Security Number
When we lose most of our stuff, our biggest concern is related to the money we spent on it. But in the case of a social security number card, its not at all about the money. Its all about the wrong use that can happen after your social security card is stolen or lost or if you accidentally gave up your social security number to a scammer.
So if your question is, what happens if I lost my social security card, then heres the list of all the possible unwanted actions that an identity thief or a scammer can take with your SSN card.
Tips For Recognizing Identity Theft
Below are some tips for recognizing when you have possibly been a victim of identity theft:;
- If you did not receive an expected bill or statement by mail or you receive a bill for something you didnt order.
- If unexpected charges occurr;on your account credit cards.
- If there are charges on your account from unrecognized vendors.
- If posted checks appear on your Bank account significantly out of sequence.
- If you receive credit cards that you didnt apply for, in your name or someone elses!;
- If you are denied credit or are offered less than favorable credit terms for no reason.
- If you get calls from creditors or debt collectors regarding merchandise or services that you did not buy.
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You Put An Account Number Into A Dummy Website
Some phishing emails or fraudulent URLs are created to look so convincingly like your bank’s, it is easy to mistakenly enter your username and password or, if they ask for it, your checking or savings account number. Other websites are made to emulate popular e-commerce or retail websites, tricking you into entering your credit card details.
If you’ve given away any of these numbers, call your bank immediately and describe the error in detail. Your bank should be able to read back any charges have been made fraudulently and connect you to the right department to help freeze or suspend the accounts that may have been comrpomised. You can typically find the fraud department directly by using the fraud services number on the back of your credit card, or on the bank’s website.
If fraudulent charges have been made, you may have to fill out a paper report, and any reimbursement may take time, typically a bit longer for debit cards than for credit cards. Here’s a version of one of these forms, used by Inova Federal Credit Union. A banker may call you to ask follow-up questions.
Leave Your Card At Home
Dont carry your Social Security card around with you in your wallet or purse. Dont enter your SSN into your phone, laptop, or other devices. It would be rare for you to need your card. Typically, reciting the number is all thats required. Keep the number in your head and the card locked up at home.
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How To Replace A Lost Social Security Card Getting A New Social Security Card
You can typically choose to order a social security card, which is often a quick and painless process. However, you might have to request a new social security card, which is a much longer and more tedious process. Before learning how to get a new social security card, learn how to replace your card.
You might be able to apply for a social security card online. You need to:
- Be 18 or older.
DISCLAIMER: VITAL RECORDS ONLINE is an independent private preparer that is not affiliated with any government agency. We provide application preparation assistance services that will help you save time in any vital record application process. Our fees charged are for the preparation of your documents and do not include the fees for obtaining these vital record documents, which you will need to pay separately to the Health Department. The documents and forms that we will fill out on your behalf can be obtained as blank forms free of charge directly from the Health Department, or possibly, elsewhere online. Thanks to our online services, you can save a trip to the Health Department and you will be able to easily fill out your application. We guarantee 100% success in the delivery of your official vital record application materials to your home address.
What To Do If You Lose Your Social Security Card
Now that you know the basics, lets take a deeper dive on what to do if you lose your Social Security card. To be sure, quick action is important.
If an individual loses their Social Security card, the first thing they should do is make sure they have claimed their My SSA profile at the Social Security My Account website, says Devin Carroll, founder of Social Security Intelligence, in Texarkana, Texas. Not only can you request a replacement card, you can also quickly check the accuracy of your annual earnings history, print benefits statements and change your address.
When you do reach out to the Social Security Administration to report and replace a lost card, know going in that the agency has a substantial to do list that needs to be completed before they’ll even accept your request for a new Social Security card.
The good news is that the Social Security Administration provides, free of charge, three card replacements on an annual basis, and 10 free cards in the course of an individuals lifetime.
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How To Protect Yourself Against Credit Fraud
Initiate A Fraud Alert On Your Credit Report
You’ll want to protect your identity by monitoring your credit reports.
Start by filing a free initial security alert that is active on your account for 90 days at the Experian fraud center. The credit bureaus are legally required to share such alerts with the other two counterparts, so you don’t need to file it with all three. This notifies lenders pulling your credit to take extra steps to verify your identity, but it does not block access to your credit report altogether.
If you want even more protection, you may want to consider freezing your credit, which will prevent lenders from extending new credit in your name altogether.
You may also want to consider enrolling in a credit monitoring product, like Experian IdentityWorks, which can help you keep tabs on your credit reports and identity.
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Having The Right Attitude
But above all of these, to recover from a successful cyberattack, it’s best to get mentally ready ahead of time.
I know that at your workplace, school, or through conversations with your kids or parents, you may have learned that stupid people cause cybersecurity incidents, and being not-stupid can prevent them. The conventional wisdom suggests it’s stupid to have an easy-to-guess password, to re-use passwords or to be fooled by a phishing email or to take a scammer’s call.
Stop thinking this way. Phishing emails that seek to convince you to give up account numbers, scam calls that are meant to trick you into providing your social security number — they are better than ever, and criminals are refining their tricks all the time.
The average person has hundreds of passwords — it’s inevitable that some of them are “bad” or subject to being mechanically uncovered by a simple algorithm. It’s inevitable that some may be reused.
Sure, it’s a great idea to use fresh and unique passwords, especially for financial accounts. But it’s impossible to imagine that everyone will do so perfectly every single time.
It is also important to pass on this attitude to your friends and family: The people closest to you can lose valuable time and money because they are too embarrassed to tell anyone they made a mistake.
Get A New Driver’s License
In most states, you can’t replace a driver’s license online. You’ll probably need to go to a DMV office to do that, and you’ll have to present at least one form of identification, such as a birth certificate or Social Security card. If you can’t find the appropriate ID needed, or if your alternate forms of identification were also stolen, you might need to show a copy of your police report, FTC report, or some other proof of theft.
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What To Do If Someone Steals Your Ssn
If you become aware that someone has stolen your Social Security Number or have a suspicion, take these steps immediately. Its essential to act quickly to prevent any further harm.
The first step is to contact one of the credit-reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian or Equifax. Heres how to contact the Big Three credit bureaus.
When you get someone on the lie, tell them you would like to place a credit freeze and a fraud alert on your credit file.;
Putting a credit freeze on your file will block lenders from your credit report without your approval. The good thing is, its easy to unfreeze your account. Better safe than sorry.
The next step is to report the identity theft to the Social Security Administration and other government agencies.;
The first you should contact is the Federal Trade Commission via identitytheft.gov. You can also file a police report with your local police department, which can assist you down the road.
The third step is to report your identity theft to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Doing so will distribute your report to local, state and federal authorities and create an official report. This step is the most important when asking what to do if someone steals your SSN.
What Is Child Identity Theft
Child identity theft happens when someone takes a childs sensitive personal information and uses it to get services or benefits, or to commit fraud. They might use your childs Social Security number, name and address, or date of birth. They could use the stolen information to
- apply for government benefits, like health care coverage or nutrition assistance
- open a bank or credit card account
- apply for a loan
- sign up for a utility service, like water or electricity
- rent a place to live
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Shred Mail And Documents With Personal Details
Discarded mail and documents are a magnet for identity thieves. Dont just throw out papers that contain personal details such as your SSN. Get a paper shredder and use it on a regular basis. While youre at it, dont leave mail in an outside mailbox for long periods. Stealing mail is another way thieves can make off with your information.
Report The Fraud To The Three Major Credit Bureaus
You can report the identity theft to all three of the major credit bureaus by calling any one of the toll-free fraud numbers below. You will reach an automated telephone system and you will not be able to speak to anyone at this time. The system will ask you to enter your Social Security number and other information to identify yourself. The automated system allows you to flag your file with a fraud alert at all three bureaus. This helps stop a thief from opening new accounts in your name. The alert stays on for 90 days. Each of the credit bureaus will send you a letter confirming your fraud alert and giving instructions on how to get a copy of your credit report. As a victim of identity theft, you will not be charged for these reports. Each report you receive will contain a telephone number you can call to speak to someone in the credit bureaus fraud department.
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Request A Credit Freeze
A credit freeze may be inconvenient, but its necessary.
You will need to contact each one of the three major credit bureaus to place the freeze on your credit file its free to do, and it lasts indefinitely until you request to cancel the freeze.
When the freeze goes into effect, no lenders can access your credit file without getting your approval first. While this is effective, it can also be a hindrance if you plan to open a new bank account, move, or buy a car.
You will have to contact the three major credit bureaus to suspend your credit freeze temporarily, complete the transaction , then contact the credit bureaus again to reinstate your credit freeze. Whew!
Requesting a Fraud Alert
In addition to requesting a credit freeze, you can also request a fraud alert with the credit bureaus and this time, you only need to contact one of the three! However, fraud alerts are not quite as effective.
With a fraud alert in place, anyone pulling your credit report is requested to contact you first for approval but theyre not mandated to.
You can renew a fraud alert for free every year, if it helps you gain a bit more peace of mind. If you filed a police report regarding your identity theft, youre eligible to request an extended fraud alert that will last for up to seven years.